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Weird Incident: I left my office and was walking to the metro Tuesday night when a woman came up to me and started talking about how wonderful my hair is. It was just pretty weird. She went on and on about how I should never dye my hair. Now, I do like the color of my hair for the most part, though, if I worked in a less conservative area, I would do something like one of those dye jobs that reproduce a famous painting. Still, this whole thing was strange.

By the way, I sometimes get fetishists who go on about the texture of my naturally curly hair. When people ask me how I get it this way, I reply, "DNA." I have deeply mixed feelings about the texture thing, given how many days there are when my hair can enter a room hours before I do.

Amazing Shoes: I took a chance on these shoes because they are just so me. I wore them yesterday and they are also amazingly comfortable. They have several other designs I like and, well, just take my money. The only question is which ones to get first. It has been a long time since shoes made me so happy.

Notes to Myself: I figured out that the note which read:
"plot map, linnet egg, palmtop, negligent" had to do with anagrams for a cryptic crossword I was working on. But what on earth could "(merde of) caniches" have possibly meant? I know what each of the individual words means, though I admit I had to google caniches to discover they are poodles. Still, why would I have written that down?


Jan. 24th, 2014 02:56 pm
fauxklore: (storyteller doll)
As usual, I have a bunch of catching up to do.

Used Bookstores and Spices: I finally got around to doing a used bookstore run last weekend. It was a particularly successful one, in that I left the house with 65 books and came home with only 4 of those (plus 18 new to me books, but that is to be expected). I also took advantage of the last store on my route being in that general vicinity to stop into Penzey’s and buy saffron. I will note, however, that they had no true cinnamon, at least not in stick form, but only cassia. (My issue is not the coumarin, as I don’t use it in huge amounts, but cassia is harder to grind and has a harsher taste.) They also don’t carry rosewater, so I still need to make a trip to one of the Indian stores (probably Aditi) to stock up. Actually, I should check first to see if Shopper’s Food Warehouse in Fairfax has it, since they carry some seasonings other supermarkets around here don’t (e.g. star anise) and do have a Middle Eastern section.

Game Night: My Chavurah had a game night on Saturday night. It was kind of weird, but I realize that most people would consider what I think of as a game night as weird. Basically, there was no interest in strategy games at all and complete distaste for anything that suggested actual competition. It was still reasonably fun. We played Balderdash, which I am very good at because: 1) I have a good vocabulary, meaning I don’t consider words like "succubus" to be the least bit obscure and 2) I understand what dictionary definitions sound like and can, therefore, snooker other people into picking my definition. We also played Sour Apples to Apples, which adds a silly penalty thing if your choice is considered least appropriate. In my opinion, that adds nothing to the game.

I should try to make time to go to real game nights, i.e. ones where people are more amenable to playing things with some level of complexity, thought, and feigned malice.

Knitting Group: Sunday involved knitting group. I finally found the needles, yarn, and pieces in progress for a particular sweater I’ve been working on. I even found my notions bag. So, of course, the pattern went missing. I worked on something else instead, but this is extremely annoying.

Weather: Monday was decent out, but we got 4 or so inches of snow on Tuesday, leading me to work from home. That’s a reminder that I really need a new desk chair. It’s been extremely cold since and I am feeling a certain amount of cabin fever.

Do Not Analyze This Dream: I had a dream the other night in which I stopped at a semi-rural resort / retreat center for dinner on my way to somewhere in Pennsylvania and found that several of my friends were there at a storytelling workshop. They talked me into staying for the night, during which I discovered that I had forgotten to bring my Volksmarch books with me. Much of the dream involved whether or not I should drive back home to retrieve them.

Notes to Myself: I scribbled the following in the front of a crossword book:

102 Loon Lake

105 (?) Yellowhead Lake

I am reasonably sure that there is no significance to this being in a puzzle book and that was just a handy piece of paper, suggesting I most likely wrote it on a plane or a train. If it were not for the question mark, I’d think it had to do with Volksmarch events. But, as it is, I am befuddled. Any ideas?

Make the Punishment Fit the Crime: When I rule the world, anyone who submits a document for approval without an acronym list shall be subject to drowning in a large vat of alphabet soup.
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My catching up here is going to be somewhat non-chronological. I think it makes the most sense to write a general entry first, in which I will mention a couple of things that deserve their own entries, and then write those entries.

Attempt at Movie Going: I have lamented before that most of the movies I see, I see on airplanes. I made an attempt at the beginning of the month to go to an actual movie theatre. The specific motivation was the opening of a new movie theatre reasonably near me. It's the Angelika at the Mosaic, which is a real estate term to try to persuade folks that the part of Merrifield at Lee Highway and Gallows Road is something other than industrial wasteland. The theatre is nice enough and has interesting art house selections (including Butter, the movie about a butter carving contest that I was attempting to see), but they were not ready for prime time. To start with, I asked for a ticket for one movie. The clerk handed me a ticket for a different movie entirely and then had to get help (including giving me back my money) to get the correct ticket. Then I watched the concessions clerk take 20 minutes to find chips for nachos. I went into the theatre and the movie had already started - 10 minutes before its schedule show time. Someone got the manager who claimed that they had gotten a bad print and would load the new print and restart it. We waited for about 10 minutes. He came back in, told us they were having trouble loading the print and it would be another 10-15 minutes. He handed everyone a pass to make up for that. (And, indeed, it did got a long way to compensate.) We waited another 20 or so minutes. He came back in and said the projector was having trouble. He gave out more passes and told us to come back in a half hour. I went and got some lunch nearby and, when I returned, learned that they were not going to show the movie for another hour (which was when the next scheduled show was). I gave up and just asked for my money back. So I failed to see Butter but I do have two passes to the Angelika.

Celebrity Death Watch: The ones I missed noting include football player turned actor Alex Karras, actor and activist Russell Means, moderate Senator Arlen Spector, presidential candidate George McGovern, and Cambodian royal Norodom Sihanouk.

Notes to Myself: Amazingly, I figured out that a random string of letters I scribbled on one of my planner pages was a list of which Qantas fare codes earn full mileage credit on American. What I can't figure out is where on my electronic ticket I can actually find what the fare code was so I can persuade them to give me that mileage credit.

Passport Renewal: I timed my passport renewal well. I not only managed to avoid needing to pay a fee for expediting my renewal, but the regular processing by mail took only 2 weeks, not the 4-6 they claim on the website. I got the old passport back a few days later, by the way.

Dinner Out #1: I had dinner with some frequent flyer friends at Four Sisters, a Vietnamese restaurant just down the street from that new Angelika. The spiffiness in the neighborhood did the opposite to the food, alas, which was not as good as I remembered from previous visits there. (Admittedly those were to their previous location, by the Eden Center, so it is possible that it was long enough ago that my memory was being faulty.) I think I will stick to Pho Cyclo if I want Vietnamese food in that general vicinity in the future. The company and conversation were worthwhile, however.

Dinner Out @2: A far more successful dinner out was the MIT Club of Washington event last week at the Embassy of Hungary. Their chef won the best embassy chef competition last year and it was obvious why. The smoked salmon with fennel salad and a pink waldorf salad were particularly notable, but all of the food was delicious. And, again, it is always a delight to have a chance to converse with intelligent people.

Dead Products Department: I am saddened that Newsweek is going all digital. I am even sadder at the cancellation of Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets. These were very handy for travel. They are claiming the pods are a replacement, but they are less travel friendly since they are liquid filled. And I don't see how they would fill the fabric softener role that the 3-in-1 sheets did. Sigh.

Hurricane Sandy: My first extreme weather event of the month involved my trip to Chicago, which merits its own entry. Hurricane Sandy had the decency of striking at home. The rain was quite heavy and the winds were loud, but there wasn't much impact in my neighborhood and, miraculously, my power never went out.

However, the storm hit hard up at my mother's. I have not yet been able to talk to her myself, but (thanks to facebook) a neighbor checked that she is okay. There was as much as 7 feet of water in Island Park. She is on relatively high ground, but I am sure the downstairs got flooded. (She had taken everything off the floor down there as a precaution.) There is still no power in town and phone circuits are busy. I have to say I am grateful for technology letting me at least check up on her via a neighbor, but I will be happier when I can hear her complaints directly.

Other Stuff I Need to Write About: I ran two storytelling events, both of which went reasonably well. For one of those, I adapted a familiar folk tale and the process of doing so is worth an entry in itself. I also went to another storytelling concert, one play and one ballet. No wonder I don't have time for dating, not to mention writing about dating.
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Rosh Hashanah made this a quiet week, so I can finish catching up. This is all the odds and ends I have been saving up, including several mini-rants. Well, everything except the longer entries I have been planning on the subjects of politics, dating, and social networking.

5773: If it isn't obvious, I wish a happy, healthy and prosperous year to all. I may even manage to mail out cards this weekend.

Storytelling: I was part of A Sampler of Stories at Friendship Heights Village Center on Wednesday night. I had fun telling a personal story, about what I really learned in 6 years of ballet classes. There were two other personal stories and three folk tales, making for an interesting mix. Where else can you hear about Beowulf and the minor traumas of suburban childhood in the same evening.

Now I have to pull together the story I am telling at Better Said Than Done at the end of the month.

Work rant, part 1: If you send out an email to six people asking what their availability is for a meeting on Wednesday or Thursday, you should not then schedule the meeting for Tuesday.

Work rant, part 2: The correct time to close restrooms for cleaning is not during lunch hours or during peak departure times.

Work rant, part 3: When I rule the world, all documents sent for re-review will have all changes (including deletions) clearly marked. If they are sent as Word documents, one can often find this via "track changes," but that is not the case for PDF files.

Work rant, part 4: Why is it that any acronym I don't already know is the one that is missing from the acronym list?

Work rant, part 5: We've been getting new computers with Windows 7 on them. What child thought having a default font size of 8 points was a good idea? I had to change the font size in Outlook in 3 separate places to make my mail readable. And changing the overall display resolution required rebooting. I have things more or less functional now, but this was a waste of my time. (The thing that is not fixable is specific to our set-up. It now takes two steps to log-in, instead of just one. I reserve the right to gripe.)

One of my co-workers, listening to me kvetching about my disdain for Microsoft, said, "this tells me you don't want to learn new things." Uh, no, I love to learn new things, but I want to choose which things I learn. And spending time learning where they moved 28 separate buttons on an application takes away time I could spend learning to read hieroglyphics, which would be infinitely more amusing.

Work rant, part 6: We had a potluck brunch Thursday to "celebrate" our one year anniversary in our new digs. Aside from that hardly being an event to celebrate (small, noisy space and a bad commute for pretty much everyone), this was announced on Wednesday around lunch time. I managed to run into Whole Foods and buy mini-muffins, but with adequate notice, I would have made my famous mixed berry muffins. When I rule the world, all potluck events will have a minimum of one week notice.

Work non-rant: My promotion finally came through.

One final note on work: We got an announcement about a new program for charitable contributions. It included the information that United Way contributions had ceased in February. Maybe I should look at my pay stubs more closely, since I hadn't noticed that.

Why I want to retire: Aside from all the work ranting, the real reasons I want to retire sooner rather than later are: a) the horribleness of commuting to the Land that Transit Forgot, b) the events that I miss because they conflict with work (e.g. a two day symposium on Yiddish radio at the Library of Congress earlier this month), and c) the annoyingness of administrivia, especially this time of year when I am waiting for my badge and CAC renewal paperwork to get done and I have to deal with semi-annual and annual report inputs, in addition to the usual monthly and (two separate) weekly reports.

Celebrity death watch: Hal David wrote pop songs. Raindrops keep falling on his grave. Reverend Sun Myung Moon married his followers off to one another in exchange for having them sell flowers. Actually, until his recent death, I don't think I'd heard anything about Moonies in over a decade.

Note to myself: If I weren't interested in learning things, would I have scrawled the following in the margins of a planner page?
+ Dance
+ Everything Else

Odd ingredients: I was eating lentil-couscous soup for lunch yesterday and noticed that the ingredients list included "pineapple (dried)". Why?

Don't interpret this dream: I had a dream in which I was about to board a flight to Russia and realized I had forgotten to get a visa.

Trivia for the week: There was an interesting article in the Washington Post the other day about race and American Sign Language. Apparently, there is actually such a thing as Black ASL. I suppose it isn't surprising that there would be ethnic "dialects" to ASL, but I admit it's something I had never thought about before.

Baseball: There's always next year for the Red Sox. But the Nationals are in the post-season. I attempted to get NLDS tickets, but ended up waiting in their electronic virtual ticketing line for several minutes only to get a "this game is sold out" message. Sigh. (I could have tried for tickets to games that might not be played, but that isn't really my sort of thing. I hope to have the opportunity to try again for the NLCS and the World Series.)
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I've got a week between travels and I am thinking about the problem of being interested in too many things. It's only a problem because time is, alas, all too limited. I have to just keep telling myself that it is better to be too busy than not busy enough.

On the plus side, it means I have plenty of things to write about here.

Traveling and Not: United Airlines had a five or so hour computer meltdown Friday night, which shut down their operations. It seems I chose a good weekend to stay home. I was, however, rather annoyed with people complaining about the infrequency of their tweets. Is there really any particular value in spending the time to keep tweeting "still dead, working on it"?

Celebrity Death Watch: I am very far behind on this, but want to note a few important deaths. Rosalyn Yalow, who was the second woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, died May 30th. She was also notable for being from the Bronx. (And she went to Walton High School, though was some years older than my mother.)

Jack Kevorkian died June 3rd. Whatever one may have thought of "Dr. Death," it can't be denied that his actions led to more open debate on the subject of euthanasia.

Lilian Jackson Braun died on June 4th. I've been critical of her later books, which suffer from significant plot holes and could have used a lot of editing, but the earlier books in her "The Cat Who ..." series were much stronger and have lots of charm. Even in the weaker volumes, the cats never behave in un-catlike ways.

Finally, Kathryn Tucker Windham died on June 12th. Much of her fame as a storyteller was for her ghost stories, but I preferred her personal stories, especially those about her career as a reporter. She was a feisty lady and a real inspiration. I'll miss her Southern voice and her attitude, which gave the lie to all those claims of delicate Southern womanhood.

Notes to Myself: This seemed cryptic at first, but I figured out that "Sunday: 105C or 107C" referred to classes I was considering at a knit and crochet conference. I decided not to go to the event, which is just as well because I really need to spend some time at home.

What is even stranger is that I think I know what a note from nearly two years ago reading "details of the 4 feet" means. I believe it had to do with robotic refueling for spacecraft.

Job Change: Starting date at my new job is the 27th. In order to ease the burden on other folks, I had my going away combined with that of another person from my group. The "official" gifts were a clock and the organization coin. (Challenge coins are a subject that would be worth an entire entry. Or, possibly, a doctoral dissertation in sociology.) I also got a cube puzzle from the weather guys and, best of all, a game from the other person who was going away. I haven't played it yet, but Literati Challenge requires creating a story with five words you draw from cards. It looks right up my alley. By the way, I gave her a book of Shakespearean insults and accompanying buttons.

I still have a ton of things I want to finish in the remaining week. And I need to clean out my office. Any story I create about the latter would have to include words like "aargh" and "gack."

Entropy: I am losing the battle against entropy.
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A transit system birthday haiku:
The Metro System
is now 35 years old
and showing its age.

Celebrity deaths: There are a lot of recent celebrity deaths. In the political world, I'll note both Warren Christopher and Geraldine Ferraro. In show biz, there was Farley Granger and, of course, Elizabeth Taylor. (Oddly, I think the only one of Liz's movies I've seen is A Little Night Music.) The literary world lost Dianna Wynne Jones. And, most significantly to me, the sports world lost Lou Gorman, the general manager of the Red Sox from 1984-1993.

A strange work-related thought: If the sky is falling, will that create orbital debris?

A strange work-related quote: "Anything human-created in space would have had to be launched."

Another incomprehensible note to myself: I have no idea why, but I wrote down the phrase "SoLo(W)" in my planner.

A strange observation prompted by a voicemail message I got this week: It must be particularly inconvenient to have a lisp if your name starts with "S."

Trivia about the Old Dominion: Someone asked me this a couple of weeks ago and I just got around to googling the answer. Virginia has 95 counties and 29 independent cities.

Not really a political observation: Antonin Scalia was ticketed for his role ina 4-car accident on the George Washington Parkway this week. I wonder if he will fight the ticket.

Good news in the book world, part 1: Politics and Prose (a very good independent bookstore in D.C.) has found a buyer. Actually, a pair of buyers.

Good news in the book world, part 2: The newest No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party is just as charming as the previous books in the series. I particularly liked how Charlie (one of the apprentices at the garage) was handled.

I still have other things to write about, but will do so separately.
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Puzzles: The rather silly title of this entry (which translates to "a collection of scraps") is a minor tribute to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which is this weekend. I can't attend due to my commitment to the Virginia Storytelling Gathering, but I want to wish happy solving to my friends who will be there.

Also, while I am on the subject of puzzles, I recently read Eugene Maleska's Across and Down, his 1984 book about the crossword puzzle world. It was amusing to see references to people like Mike Shenk and Merl Reagle as new constructors. (Neither had sold a puzzle to the New York Times when this book was written.) Will Shortz is described as "a budding young word expert." One expects the players to change in 25+ years, of course. But the main thing I want to mention is that the puzzles in the back reminded me how much the puzzles have changed. I prefer the current type, which tend to have more wordplay and fewer obscure crossword words.

Celebrity Death Watch: I have two celebrity deaths to note. The first is Hugh Martin, who wrote some familiar songs, such as "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The other is Shifra Lerer, who was a major star of Yiddish theatre. She was discovered by Boris Tomashefsky (probably best known nowadays as the grandfather of Michael Tilson Thomas). Yiddish theatre is a dying world and there can't be too many of its big names left.

Vacation planning: I will be spending my birthday in the Faroe Islands. This is a place I've been interested in since reading Tim Severin's The Brendan Voyage back in the 1980's. (By the way, I read the book because of Shaun Davey's orchestral suite based on it. I couldn't read certain sections without hearing Liam O'Flynn on uillean pipes in the background.) Anyway, I've booked flights in and out of Iceland and the ferry to and from the Faroes. The flights are not really great value for my frequent flyer miles, but I have a lot of Alaska Air miles and I tend to like to use miles, not hoard them. I have barely started researching the land part, which requires me to get from Reykjavik to and from Seydisfjordur. Apparently, one can either fly or take a bus to Egilsstadir and there is daily bus from there. Bus service in eastern Iceland is relatively complicated but that is precisely what makes this plan my sort of trip. And I have over five months to sort it out. I should probably also learn how to pronounce "Seydisfjordur" somewhere along the way. (As a reminder to myself, I also need to research how to get to Gulfoss Falls, which is claimed to be one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and is somewhere in Iceland.)

Quote of the week: At a staff meeting this week, someone described what he is working on by saying, "The only stable thing on this project is me."

Absurdity at work: I got a phone call the other day from my company's emergency hotline. Several of the regional offices were doing a tornado drill and I was instructed to go to an interior office. The absurdity is that they called again in five minutes with an "all clear." I have an interior office so this was not a real issue. But, if somebody had to actually leave their office to comply with the instructions, there was no way for them to get the all clear. (I discovered later in the day that they had also emailed the instructions, which has the same problem.)

Not a mysterious note to myself: In a couple of months, I am sure I will be trying to figure out what "Perken-NTIA" means. Actually, I was reminding myself, that Ken told me (i.e. "per Ken") that the source for a particular policy is the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. At some point I will also probably forget that "Norms Project" belongs to Audrey, not Norm. (The latter would, of course, need an apostrophe.)

Snacko: The space folks are not being totally ignored by whoever stocks the snacko. They have added Starburst. Admittedly, I don't see the point in most non-chocolate candies, but this still amuses me.

Awesome Concert: I went to darkest Maryland Wednesday night to see Pierre Bensusan perform at the Takoma Park Community Center. Fortunately, that's not too bad a walk from the metro, which alleviates most of my complaints about Maryland. He was in particularly fine form, musically. He was also much chattier than he had been at his January concert at Jammin' Java. The running theme of the evening was that Pierre kept asking the sound guy for "more reverb." At some point, someone in the audience called out "more cowbell" and then had to explain the reference. Pierre picked up on that and in the intro to another piece talked about the farm he lives on, mentioned that they don't have a cow but do have a cat, and speculated about adding a "cat bell" to the song.

As for the music, he played a fine mix of old and new. I was especially pleased that he played "Agadir Ramadan," which is such an evocative piece. He continued the north African theme with a piece titled "Oran" and mentioned that he's been invited to go to that city (which is his birthplace, though he left at age 4) to perform with local musicians. All in all, I continue to be in awe of his virtuosity. Based on comments I heard from other people in the audience, I am not alone.
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Work: We do an annual review with our group Vice President and I was on the hook to brief this time. It went reasonably well. While he did offer up some advice, I left feeling like I had successfully defended my existence.

Life at work, part 1: At most of my previous jobs, there was a stream of collections for gifts for various events. At my current job, we have what is called "the sunshine fund." Everybody kicks in 15 bucks periodically (nominally, quarterly but it is less often in practice) and we use it for things like sending flowers if somebody is in the hospital and for going away presents and birthday cards and, every now and then, pizza for lunch. I offer this as a suggestion, since I find it is a considerably more pleasant way of handling things.

Life at work, part 2: It is fairly obvious that those of us who work Space Programs do not run the snacko on our floor. Because, if we did, there would be Mars bars and Milky Way bars, instead of Snickers.

Storytelling: I went to hear Megan Hicks and Nick Newlin perform at the Friendship Heights Village Center last week. This is a new venue and I like the location. The room is a good size and it is just a few blocks from the metro, making it easy to get to on a weeknight. Nick told a reasonably amusing story about serial monogamy - except for one summer. I thought he told well, but the ending felt a bit weak. Megan told one story I'd heard before (about working at a Disneyland refreshment stand) and one I hadn't heard before (about how she finally met her Prince Charming.) Both were excellent and the latter was particularly sweet. All in all, it was a very enjoyable event.

Politics, local: I don't think I've mentioned before that I am disappointed that Senator Webb has announced that he won't run for re-election in 2012. I'm not surprised, but I'm concerned about who the Virginia Democratic party will find to run against (probably) George Allen.

Politics, international: I guess I won't be going off to visit any archaeological sites in north Africa for a while.

Politics, middle America: While I think that the collective bargaining is a valuable right, I have somewhat mixed feelings about unions. I believe they can do good things, but they also need to pay more attention to fiscal realities.

Notes to myself: I was trying to be witty when I wrote "chicken a la bling" as a description of some menu item I have now forgotten. I have no idea what I meant when I wrote down "on all four feet."
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First, here is a great description from a not entirely satisfying mystery (The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson). "For the Bronco get-together, she wore a chartreuse knit sweater and skirt trimmed with fur in dots and dashes, as if the minks had been begging for help in Morse code."

I often get brochures in the mail or clip a magazine article that I want to look at, but not with any particular urgency. I put those in a box in the study nook that I refer to as "the box of shame." The shameful part is how long it takes me to actually deal with any of it.

But every now and then I do go through it, usually when it is about to overflow. Much of it is easy enough to deal with. The brochures get read and tossed or filed, the stacks of puzzles either get solved or return to the box, the coupons that expired two or more years ago get thrown out. Inevitably, I also end up finding mysterious, indecipherable notes to myself.

In November 2008, I wrote the word "Holdaway" on a calendar page. It must have been important, since I outlined it with the same sort of box I outlined the word "TEA" with. The latter was a reference to my need to bring a fresh supply of tea to the office. I just googled "holdaway" and it seems to be a name (or, possibly, a device having to do with mooring the boat I don't have). I have no idea why I wrote this down. Nor do I understand why I wrote "No Hawaii" on the back of that page. I do, alas, understand the note that "1 crapton = 6 buttloads."

In some cases, I suspect the problem is my handwriting. (Yes, I got C's in penmanship all through elementary school.) I figured out that one note reads "collective potential of human imagination" but I had to think a lot harder to realize that what looked like "Good for the sheep" is really "Good for the shoes." I would not have figured that out had it not been on the calendar page for Josh Kornbluth's Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews which contained that pun. I cannot explain why I was taking notes at the theatre. Maybe I need to take a class on creating my alter-ego to figure this out. Even having the super powers that would make me need an alter ego won't tell me why I wrote down "black or white or shiny" last March, though I suspect it has something to do with spacecraft or space suits because I was at a NASA workshop that day.

Finally, I would like to believe this item (from October 2008) is the lyrics to a song, but it could very well be a puzzle. In which case, somebody cleverer than I am can solve it.

As I was walking down the lane
From the dead, the living came
6 there were
1 will be
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I stumbled upon a note I wrote to myself that says, "You can't stop people from thinking." This may be the least puzzling note to myself that I have found in months.

One of the things that annoys me is that everything happens at the same time. That is why, for example, I will be nervously trying to finish a briefing dry run on Friday morning in time to get over to the Department of Commerce. But the specific things that are happening at the same time that I may have found a solution to are the Virginia Storytelling Gathering and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. (Those are also the same weekend as Sharing the Fire, which I really need to get to one of these years, especially given how many New England storytellers I know.) Being on the board of VASA makes this a no-brainer and I am committed to the Gathering. I've even already paid my registration.

Today I got the registration reminder postcard from the ACPT. And it reminded me that one can play online or by mail. It doesn't quite count, of course, but it would be useful for the practice since there may actually be a year that I don't have a schedule conflict.

Not Cake

Oct. 18th, 2010 04:50 am
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This is one of my hodegpodge entries - basically everything but cake.

Follow-ups: Ron solved the mystery of my "303/357" note to myself. That's a battery size and I wrote it down when I needed to replace the batteries in two of my travel alarm clocks.

I solved the mystery of "3200-11" myself by (duh) googling it. It's a DoD Instruction having to do with test ranges.

I also did a bit of research on "boughten" and found it is northern U.S. dialect. I will note that I use it only as an adjective and almost entirely in relation to food items, though I could stretch to referring to a boughten sweater (as opposed to a hand-knit one).

Sometimes the headline says it all: "Car eating rabbits invade Denver airport." The story explains that the rabbits eat soy-based wiring found in some late model cars.

Weird thing to wonder about: Suppose a transsexual decides to convert to Judaism. What would an Orthodox rabbi do? I am, of course, assuming the person's history is known to the rabbi, but the question becomes harder in some ways and easier in others if it is not.

Fun with names: I was amused to learn that one of the largest manufacturers of glass for the defense industry (e.g. in night vision glasses) is Schott.

Celebrity death watch: I am slightly annoyed (though not at all surprised) that Barbara Billingsley (who played June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver) got a lot more attention than Benoit Mandelbrot (who did much of the key mathematical research on fractals).

Story swap: I went to the Voices in the Glen story swap at Michael's on Saturday night. There was a reasonably good turn out and the swaps are always fun. A particular highlight was hearing Eve's son, Jonathan, tell "Birds of America." I also enjoyed Bill's story about Elizabeth Bathory.

Coral Reef Update: The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit is open at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History! It was supposed to open on Saturday but there was a water main break on Constitution Avenue, so the museum was closed. I saw the reef yesterday afternoon and it is lovely. The community reef is the biggest part of the display and is huge. I was able to find some of my contributions. And my name is spelled correctly on the plaque, which is always a plus. The exhibit runs through April 24, so you have lots of time to check it out.

USA Science and Engineering Festival: The inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival is next weekend. There will be booths on the National Mall and around Freedom Plaza and Wilson Plaza and in the Mellon Auditorium. I'm volunteering and will be at the Mellon Auditorium info booth all day Saturday, so stop by and say hello if you're there. And you should be there. It looks like there are a lot of cool interactive exhibits and plenty of performances on four major stages and several smaller ones. (In case you are wondering how I came to be involved, the call for volunteers went out to a local MIT email list. I went to the volunteer training yesterday, which is why I was already in the city to check out the coral roof.)

Amazing Race: I haven't been to Kiruna, Sweden, though I've been to Sweden and I've stayed at another Ice Hotel (in Quebec). My wrap-up is behind a cut since some people may not have viewed the episode yet.

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fauxklore: (Default)
In the course of doing a wee bit of desk unshoveling, I stumbled across some metro haikus I never posted here. These go back to June, but are really pretty timeless for us weary commuters.

Waited twenty-three
minutes for train whih should
run every five. Damn!

The indoor voice is
apparently not taught to
children nowadays.

I also have the obligatory cryptic notes to myself. Surprisingly, I recognized a sequence of digits written on one scrap of paper as a frequent flyer number. I can more or less figure out what I meant by things like 24-28 and 1-5 for Festival, and I actually just realized that it was the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. I am reasonably sure I know what I was supposed to tell Vic and I think I actually did tell him. But I have absolutely no idea who Ben Regngert might be and why he is associated with 19 x 19 foam board.


Feb. 8th, 2009 08:01 pm
fauxklore: (Default)
1) I wanted to note that Milton Parker, founder of the Carnegie Deli, passed away last week. While there are other delis I prefer, his was certainly famous and influential. This is also an excuse for me to link to the excellent blog, Save the Deli, which is devoted to Jewish delicatessens.

Save the Deli is also where I found a link to Old Jews Telling Jokes. The jokes are all worthy of my family - that is, corny and off-color. Needless to say, I'm still chuckling.

2) The NOAA N-prime satellite launched successfully on Friday. This is significant since that's the satellite that had a famous, um, mishap back in 2003.

Apparently, the new setup in the integration facility will make a satellite fall on the person who forgets the bolts.

3) I was over in Bed Bath & Beyond the other day and saw a set of Passover finger puppets. Ah, Moses and Aaron, you think? No, these are 10 plagues finger puppets. While I suppose that it does solve the problem of trying to explain to children just what murrain is, I really have a hard time figuring out who would buy these. Okay, I admit I was tempted out of the sheer oddity of the concept. But, really, is there an actual market for this?

4) While I'm on the subject of strange products, why would anybody buy gingerbread pop tarts with an image of a gingerbread man traced onto the frosting? Come to think of it, why would one buy gingerbread pop tarts at all?

5) My mysterious notes to myself all too often include a telephone number without any indication of whose number it is. I may have topped that, however. Any idea why I wrote down "March 3rd" without anything else next to it?


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